Formal commands are what in Spanish is used to give commands, telling other people what to do. It has also been referred to “imperative form of the verb. While informal the word “tú, formal commands use the word “usted,” and “ustedes,” is used to refer to a group of people (plural).
We have noted before, that “usted,” is used for anyone who is older, in order to show respect. If you are not sure if you should use the informal way or formal, try using the formal first. If that person wants you to talk to them in “tú,” form, she/he will let you know.
The formal commands are formed very similar to the informal.
- Look at the “yo” indicative present
- Remove the “o” ending
- Add these endings according to the type of verb
For “ar” verbs, add “e” to the ending of the word in singular. “en” for plural forms (ustedes)
For verbs ending in “er” or “ir, add “a” (for singular) and “an,” (plural) to the ending of the word. These is the same format you will follow for irregular verbs as well.
Hablar - Hable - Hablen
Comer - Coma - Coman
When giving a formal command, you may or may not use the actual word “usted,” or “ustedes,” however, when you use it, it adds politeness to the conversation.
Tenga usted un buena tarde. Have yourself a great afternoon.
Usually, in Latin American countries, people use the word “usted,” to speak to teachers, the elderly, people in authority, doctors, and anyone who is 20 years older than you. If you use this formula, you will be safe.
Por favor camine más lentamente - Please walk slower! (usted) (singular)
Por favor caminen ustedes mas lentamente – Please walk slower (plural)
If you are using a verb that is irregular, you will continue to use the irregular form in a formal command. This is also the way we proceed when we use verbs which stems are changed: Cuente con nosotros. - Count with us.
Verbs whose stem is change will be “ser,” - Sea usted bienvenido. You are welcome.